IAC Spotlight: Jeffrey Skolnik, MD
At CureSearch, we’re focused on driving innovative research that will lead to new childhood cancer treatments at an accelerated pace, but we can’t do it alone. By collaborating with leading experts in pediatric oncology through our world-class Scientific and Industry Advisory Councils, we’re identifying and supporting research projects with the strongest potential to move into clinical trials and reach patients with the deadliest tumor types.
The Industry Advisory Council (IAC) includes leaders from global oncology and biotechnology companies, many of whom are also trained pediatric oncologists. These leading experts champion CureSearch and pediatric cancer programs within the industry and review research projects for drug development potential. Jeffrey Skolnik, MD, senior vice president of clinical development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, was appointed IAC council chair in November of 2021. Prior to being appointed council chair, Dr. Skolnik was an IAC member for five years.
Dr. Skolnik has always had a passion for helping children, which is why he pursued a career in medicine, specifically in pediatric oncology. As time went on, he realized that he could make an even greater impact by helping to develop new medicines and treatments that will benefit the patient population as a whole.
“This is what led me to a career in pharmaceutical medicine and more recently, into biotechnology,” he said. “I am also drawn to new and innovative ways to design clinical trials and have spent my time in pharmaceutical medicine pursuing this.”
Dr. Skolnik is a practicing pediatric hematologist-oncologist with experience in developing oncology drug programs for children, making him a natural fit for CureSearch. His passion for helping patient populations that are in need of new treatments aligns with CureSearch’s goal to bring children to the forefront of drug development.
Cancer remains the number one disease killer in children and the current pace of pediatric drug development fails to reflect the urgent need for new treatments. While early phase clinical trials that study the safety of new childhood cancer drugs are common, advanced trials that aim to demonstrate the efficacy of these new drugs are uncommon. In addition, such trials that lead to registering or approving new medicines for children with cancer are extremely rare.
“Because pediatric cancers are seen as so rare, there is less incentive to attempt to develop viable drugs,” said Dr. Skolnik. “This needs to change if we are to bring novel medicines to the children who we need to treat and cure.”
Dr. Skolnik says CureSearch is leading the way in developing safe, effective treatments to children with cancer through its unique approach of bringing together top experts in the field, all of whom regularly discuss strategies to advance pediatric cancer drug development.
“CureSearch has the opportunity to become the go-to nonprofit to advance clinical development in the pediatric cancer space,” he said. “The quality of people dedicated to this mission is outstanding and I am very glad that I have had the opportunity to join the CureSearch team as the Industry Advisory Committee Chair.”
To learn more about the IAC and its members, visit https://curesearch.org/advisory-councils.